The following recipe for Oktoberfest Apple Butter took me several attempts and years to perfect. I like to use many apple varieties in the mix, especially utilizing ones that are more acidic, like Granny Smith. The recipe is geared toward applications in cocktail making.
Retrieve a large stock pot. Core and slice a peck of assorted apples (10 to 20 pounds), leaving the skins on, and place them in the stock pot. Cover them with equal parts apple cider and water. Then add a couple bottles of Oktoberfest beer, a few cinnamon sticks and a cup of apple cider vinegar.
Let the apples and liquid come to a simmer and cook until fork tender. Strain the apples, reserving the cooking liquid and process the apples through a food mill. The leftover liquid makes good hot cider.
Remove the skins, measure the resulting pulp and place back into the stock pot. For every cup of apple pulp add a half cup of granulated sugar. Stir until everything is dissolved. Add cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and allspice to taste. Utilize a Microplane to grate the baking spices fresh and add just a pinch of salt. Cook the mixture down stirring every few minutes until it caramelizes and becomes thick—this will take a few hours. It will become harder to stir and a rich golden brown color.
Store the apple butter in sterilized Mason jars. It will last a few months refrigerated and six months frozen. I like to use it for winter cocktails. It makes a great base for Hot Toddies, whiskey cocktails and as a condiment for toast and cheeses.
For a hot toddy, add a couple heaping tablespoons of the apple butter to a cup of boiling water, a measure (two ounces) of whiskey and garnish with a lemon twist.
You don’t have to use any beer or vinegar, but it will greatly enhance the apple flavors.